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Business News Tue, 2 Aug 2016

SMEs can no longer ignore technology – Jonathan Ane

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can no longer afford to ignore technological advances if they are to enhance growth of their businesses, Jonathan Ane, Managing Director of Rhema Systems & Associates, an information technology solutions provider, has said.

“What we need to understand is that we are in a global economy, things are not going to go backwards; the machine and human interface is going to get stronger so we have to really have a cultural and mindset change to be able to adapt to it and be ready for change,” he said at a technology forum organised by business software giant, SAP, in Accra.

“The aim of going forward is that we need to evangelize to businesses, especially SMEs, to understand the value of technology. Technology is coming and we cannot stop it,” he said.

To underscore the need to make use of technology, Mr. Ane cited technology firms like Uber, Facebook, Google, which are transforming the business landscape with their technology.

SAP Africa, in partnership with Rhema Systems, hosted the Africa Forum at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, with the goal of helping local businesses of all sizes discover new ways in which to optimise their business processes and engage with their customers and employees through a simplified experience.

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The Forum focused on the role technology can play to drive efficiencies through a series of presentations on business-relevant topics. More than 60 delegates attended the forum which comprised of customers, potential customers and SAP Africa Ecosystem partners.

With about 90percent of companies in Ghana registered as SMEs, these companies employ more than 80percent of the workforce and contribute about 50percent of GDP. SMEs therefore have catalytic impacts on economic growth, income and employment.

Despite their contributions to economic growth, SMEs face challenges including absence of adequate and timely banking finance, limited capital and knowledge, non-availability of suitable technology, and many more.

But Mr. Ane believes that SMEs can make use of technologies that are not just cheaper but efficient and have the potential of transforming the businesses.

“There have being quite a lot of moments where small scale businesses have implemented technologies and have seen transformations in the way they do things. I always say that if you are a small company, just invest in basic software technology which is less than a US$1,000,” he said.

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Mr. Ane, whose company has set it sight on becoming the leading SAP solutions reseller in Ghana and West Africa, believes that despite the economic impact of challenging commodity and oil prices, there is no doubt that Ghanaian businesses are ready to seize the opportunities in the digital economy.

Managing Director of SAP West Africa, Kudzai Danha, noted that compelling market forces and breakthrough technologies have given rise to a powerful digital economy and to be competitive in this environment, businesses need to re-imagine traditional practices for a new world of digital business.

“In today’s complex world, simplicity is key for business to innovate, grow and win. Gone are the days of expensive IT infrastructure and complicated technology. It’s time to go back to basics and enjoy easier, simpler experiences – both outside and inside of the office,” he added.

Source: B&FT